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The Duke Smiles

Joy to the Duke Book Cover Joy to the Duke
(Love is All Around Book 3)
Darcy Burke
Historical Romance
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019

Denied the woman of his dreams by his father’s meddling, Calder Stafford, has spent the last decade proving himself to be self-sufficient, austere, and utterly uninterested in joy. Now that he is the Duke of Hartwell, he’ll enact his revenge by abolishing the holiday traditions his father loved so well. His sisters will not sway him and neither will the woman—newly returned to town—who was stolen from him.

Returning to Hartwell to care for her mother, widow Felicity Garland is delighted to be back home, especially for the holidays. However, the jolly festivities she expects are nowhere to be found. When she goes to the source of the problem—the duke—she’s astonished to see how much the young man she once loved has hardened. It’s up to her to break through the impenetrable fortress around his heart—not just to save Christmas, but to save him.

As always a nice read from Darcy. We follow up Mr Grump from the previous novels and his love life and what happened with him and his father.

The storyline continues with orphans and women who need homes due to missing husbands for whatever reason and we have a type of Dickens Xmas novel without the ghosts of Christmas Past but lots of Actions of Father’s Past to replace it.

This book really just rounds up the story lines from the previous novels in the series without any more social commentary of the era – except a side of doctors bleeding people when they are very ill which really did no good at all. Doctors were basically, mostly, incompetent and a transmitter of diseases.

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How to get a Princess

The Princess Plan Book Cover The Princess Plan
A Royal Wedding, Book 1
Julia London
Fiction, Historical Romance, Victorian Mystery
HarperCollins UK
November 19, 2019
400

Passion. Intrigue. Love. “This is a perfect historical romance” – Sunday Times Bestselling Author Sarah Morgan “The gorgeous characters and the wit and charm made this a book I simply didn’t want to put down. I was willing Eliza and Sebastian on to their fairytale happy ending!” – Nicola Cornick

London’s high society loves nothing more than a scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip off about the crime, forcing Sebastian to ask for her help in his quest to find his friend’s killer.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more dangerous than a prince socialising with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And soon, as temptation becomes harder to ignore, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.

Well, what can we say about this book? Very different from any other historical book and I love the Gazette – and the chaotic household of the Judge and the sisters, and all their escapades.

Of course, there is also a Prince and a Trade Deal, else how would there be a Princess? But a Prince can’t marry a Commoner especially one that has been outed as in Society as being deceived badly by the man she thought was her fiancée. But they didn’t quite know just how far she had gone with her fiancée or matters would have been even worse.

Eliza has a strange habit for women of that period – she repairs clocks. Which is a very fiddly task indeed and she has courage and a certain amount of bravado as she believes she is no longer a marriage prospect which enables her to be rather more cavalier about her behaviour.

I liked these sisters and I am sure that there will be more books about them, but starting with Eliza was good. Nicely written with lots of plots and some twists and fun. And some reality as to how people would have really lived if they were middle-class rather than society

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Actual Dukes? Ducs?

Dukes, Actually Book Cover Dukes, Actually
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction , Romance
WebMotion
Pub Date 22 Oct 2019

The Duke of Azureford isn’t the arrogant, aloof lord his peers perceive him to be. Yes, he’s awkward, but he has a plan to fix it. In order to woo a respectable lady, he must learn how to flirt. The completely inappropriate girl next door would make a perfect instructor, but a terrible duchess. So why can’t he walk away? Incorrigible hoyden Miss Carole Quincy likes billiards, fast carriages, and the beautiful, buttoned-up Duke of Azureford. She’d be delighted to help him out of his shell and into her arms. Who cares if they’re just pretending to flirt? The heady, breath-taking, soul-consuming feeling inside her runaway heart surely can’t be loveThe 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!

A short xmas novella in the Xmas town, high in the mythical English mountains. where they get lots of snow, almost all year round. New England one suspects…

Cute and funny. Love a heroine who can play billiards because she knows her geometry! Not me alas, but why not? I have friends who are architects/engineers and can do all this, it was just the social customs then that made females un-emancipated.

As always a nice read.

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Social commentary and Romance

The Red Hot Earl Book Cover The Red Hot Earl
Love is All Around Book #1
by Darcy Burke
Romance, Historical
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 24 Sep 2019

The Earl of Buckleigh was once an untitled misfit, tormented at Oxford. Now, he’s overcome his challenges and is eager for the future, especially when his oldest and dearest friend, Bianca, needs help to save the annual holiday party. Ash has a plan to rescue the event, but when the bullies from his youth are up to their old tricks, he must risk everything to put the past behind him and find true love. Furious when her brother refuses to host the St. Stephen’s Day party, Lady Bianca Stafford is committed to giving the villagers their celebration. In Ash, she sees salvation for their local tradition, and perhaps a future she never expected. But her brother has other plans for her—a Season and marriage, and not to Ash. When disaster strikes, everything she cares about is threatened and it will take a miracle—or a hero—to save the day. The Red Hot Earl is inspired by the song and story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The thing I like about Darcy Burke is that in each book she explores an aspect of society apart from the whole historical romance and women’s lib in the 1800s.

This book looks at the problem of people having Tourette’s when it wasn’t realised to be a medical syndrome.

Tourettes is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering French neurologist who in 1885 first described the condition.

Before  this time it was thought to be a ‘problem that could be cured by [harsh] treatment and was voluntary on the part of the sufferer. Of course, the more people tied to ‘cure’ it, the worse the syndrome became as stress aggravates, as with stuttering and so on.

So we found here in the Earl in question.

The problem he also had was, although he didn’t know it, but suspected, he had a 50% chance of passing the syndrome on to his children. So add that to a nice Regency romance and you get a book worth reading.

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Who is to inherit?

Daring To Love The Duke's Heir Book Cover Daring To Love The Duke's Heir
The Beauchamp Heirs
by Janice Preston
Women's Fiction, Historical
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 27 Jun 2019

She’s totally unsuitable…

…to be his Duchess!

Part of The Beauchamp Heirs: Dominic Beauchamp, Lord Avon, is a powerful duke’s heir and it’s his duty to marry well. His bride must have impeccable breeding, manners and grace. But can anyone meet his exacting standards? Certainly not the irrepressible Liberty Lovejoy, who’s been thrust into society after years of being a provincial nobody. She’s too bold, too bubbly…so why is she the only lady he’s thinking about?

Oh the ‘Ton’ and their ideas that women should be seen and not heard – unless they agree with men of course – in  very simpering way.

A time it seems of true misogyny, at least in the ranks of the privileged few. Bearing in mind that very few women had any control over property, children or money. Let alone voting and politics. Not even the ability to pay bills it seems.

What therefore is a woman with a mind, a voice, and emotions going to do when her twin brother seems determined to fritter away their newly acquired fortune and she can’t control him or the money or…

Clearly she was not going to marry a Duke. Except that this is a love story and…

Nicely written and one feels for both the hero and heroine. The hero because he has been brought up in a world of expectations and the heroine because she has so little control over her life and yet is passionate and meddling..!

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